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My thanks to Joe Cummins and Frank Teuton for the E.coli
So far, this is what I've learned:
- most of hundreds of E.coli strains are harmless (in fact, we need
the E.coli inside our gut because they produce some vitamins for
- a few strains are harmful, and the one which has received the
most coverage recently is the O157:H7 strain, which causes a form
of diarrhea which can be fatal.
- the presence of E.coli in water is used as *indicator*. While the
E.coli itself may not be harmful, its presence implies possible fecal
contamination of the water. Such fecal contamination means other
contaminants -- this time pathogenic -- may also be present.
- E.coli is both aerobic and anaerobic (ie, it can survive in either
environment); this seems to contradict recent exchanges on Sanet
re compost teas which implied that aeration kills E.coli. Apparently
not. Can Elaine Ingram clarify this?
- E.coli has been the most common target of bacterial genetic
engineering. ie, all kinds of genes and plasmids have been inserted
into E.coli. Another question for Joe Cummins: is it possible that
these genetic manipulations created the pathogenic strains of
Regards to all,